Following the pronouncement allowing import car dealerships to continue bringing cars into the country not older than 11 years, Eswatini’s rules remain one of the most flexible in the SACU region.

Updated on : 04-11-2020


The Southern African Customs Union (SACU)   brings Eswatini together  with four countries of Southern Africa that include Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia and South Africa. It provides for a common external tariff and a common excise tariff to this common customs area. All customs and excise collected in the common customs area are paid into South Africa’s National Revenue Fund. The revenue is shared among members according to a revenue-sharing formula, as described in the agreement.

Minister of Finance Neal Rijkenberg had proposed an eight-year age limit which obtains in most of the countries in the SACU region like Namibia and Lesotho.

On Monday , a report tabled in Parliament by  a Lobamba Lomdzala Marwick Khumalo-chaired committee saw the capping increased by three years to 11, which made Eswatini’s rules among the most flexible alongside Botswana . The latter’s restriction is just 100 000km with no age limit. South Africa, on the other hand, has a complete ban.

The latest developments say those in the import car dealership business have until November 30, 2022 to continue bringing cars into the country that are not older than 11 years , with staggering to be introduced in subsequent years.

Parliament agreed that it would be staggered and that from December 1, 2022, no car older than 10 years will be imported.

Minister Rijkenberg had earlier indicated that the move to reduce the age limit for second hand vehicles imported from outside of SACU from 15 years was informed by the negative impact their importation had on the country’s SACU revenue share, safety, environment, as well as human health.

Recently the minister had said the SACU receipts had dropped significantly from 21 to seven per cent due to importation of goods from non-SACU member states including the vehicles, which are mainly from Japan.

Sought for his reaction and further projection on SACU receipts following the latest developments, the minister said he was locked in a cabinet meeting and asked that a WhatsApp message be sent. He was yet to respond at the time of compiling this report.

An economist interviewed yesterday on condition of anonymity shared that the 11-year age restriction would definitely be a blow to the SACU receipts in coming years and would add salt to the injury following further declines expected in the next two to three years due to the disruptions in trade caused by COVID-19.

Source: The Times of Eswatini  04/11/2020

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